St. Albans: The Survivor

St. Albans for Grifter

By Ryan Hamilton

I was a great idea, the child of a bishop who had bigger dreams than he had pockets. He got tired of the parishioners of my petty older brother, St. James Cathedral. I was built to be a grand cathedral that would be a landmark for this city. And then the money ran out. I was left and abandoned, just sitting there unfinished, being reminded everyday of my own failure. Then, a score and ten years later, money arrived in the form of Henry Pellat. A new side chapel was constructed and a foundation was laid. It was like a golden road that I could take to my destiny. And then Pellat lost his money and I lost my future, all of it, and the road remained, but all I could do was watch. I could not even take a step.

I had no purpose. I, a simple parish church, drifted into collective ignorance. Wars came and wars ended. Plaques went up and life went on. Life went on. And nothing happened.

Then some people came, looked around, and they gave me a new purpose. I’d tell you more, but frankly, I’ve forgot most of what happened at that time. All I know is that within a few years, buildings were popping up all around me, and everywhere were people wearing red jackets. I became a school. These people, with their dirty boots and loud voices, kept on singing–not well, I may add. I could have been a cathedral, but instead I’m just this.

Then one night I was sitting there, breathing in the still and silent night. Keeping an eye on the scaffold of some workers who were giving me a minor checkup, I then saw a flame. Most of what happened next was a blur. All I knew was that I was burning up from the inside out. The pain was beyond description. The next morning I lay there, broken. I figured they would tear me down, start over, and that would be that, but instead they saved me. Why did they do that?

I have a new purpose. It might not be as grand as I could have been, but it’s a new purpose. I am the Chapel. Not a cathedral but the Chapel.


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